studentoflife

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I have had a site for 10 years, it started with .html pages and then I made it .php and then I put it on a CMS. Many different generations and redirects along the way. Right now there are 23 active pages on my site in total, down from around 55 at one point.

When I look at Search Console I will see some issues which are under "Excluded", not "Errors". Mostly minor stuff, the worst of which are a couple 404's and a Soft 404.

An example of a 404 is a blog page that shows as domain.com/blog/name of article/name of article. I don't know why Google has picked that up as a page (with the name of the article twice), but it never was. I could 301 redirect these, but then different ones pop up next month. And my htaccess page is getting awfully full with 301 redirects, I am not sure if that will start slowing down my site.

My main question is if these matter at all to local SEO?

Screen Shot 2021-10-03 at 1.57.09 PM.jpg
 

JeffClevelandTN

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Just my two cents worth :). You may have already considered all of this.

404s won't hurt your site's overall performance, but I'd be more concerned about the value of the individual page and the end-user's experience if they reach a 404.

When we relaunch a client's website from the ground up, we always have in a 404 to 301 redirect and logging tool/plugin that doesn't rely upon htaccess. This is just in case we missed some pages during our sitemap audit or in the event of taking over a website, to make sure there were not any pages the previous company redirected and we were unaware. As you've probably already read, there is very little direct overall SEO impact from 404's but we consider any urls that aren't going to the proper place, as missed opportunities. 404's often means potential users to your website had a less than ideal experience. It is possible that during previous citation/backlink building that someone typed in an incorrect url, or it may be an organic backlink from another website that could be valuable. Based on your screenshot, it doesn't seem likely it is a coding issue as it is just a handful, but still a possibility if they never go away.

It could be the 404 is being caused by an old indexed page or a backlink. I'd suggest a couple of things. First would be doing the typical google search "site:url" to see if it is indexed and if so, take a look at the cached version. Secondly, if you have a tool like ahrefs (or similar) type in the url and search for that exact url to find any potential backlinks associated with that specific url to see if there is any value to reconstructing or redirecting the page.

If you're confident there isn't any value to those urls associated with the 404s and you just want to cleanup your htaccess, Search Console or Analytics, I think the safer thing (if you can) is to put in a 404 to 301 redirect/logging tool if your CMS allows, keep an eye on it and consider a global 404 redirect.
 
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studentoflife

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Thank you for the reply!

404s won't hurt your site's overall performance, but I'd be more concerned about the value of the individual page and the end-user's experience if they reach a 404.
The 404 pages aren’t linked from anywhere on the Internet that I could find. I don’t know where Google got them from, but none of my potential customers will ever see those pages.
 

Conor Treacy

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The 404 pages aren’t linked from anywhere on the Internet that I could find. I don’t know where Google got them from, but none of my potential customers will ever see those pages.

If the pages shouldn't be shown, never existed, or are an error - then I would leave them as a 404. That's the correct response, and Google will remove it from the index when they remove it. You can request removal, but generally, there's no need.

On your 404 page, be sure to have a way that users can access other parts of your site, or a search to allow them to find what it was they originally wanted.

But if the information was old, or not valid, then a 404 is the correct response. If there's a lot of traffic, then redirect to something similar to what they were looking for, but it doesn't sound that way.

As far as 301s slowing down the site, you'd need to be running thousands of lines in your .htaccess file before you notice any issue (with most hosts).
 

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